Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crumpets for #RandomRecipeChallenge

The whole point of the Random Recipe Challenge set each month by dashing Dom of +belleau kitchen is to get us out of our comfort zone and make us try something new. This month the theme is bread so I opened the EatYourBooks website and searched my own cookbooks as specified.  My random number landed on English Bread and Yeast Cookery, a book I have had for a while and have enjoyed reading, but had yet to cook or bake from.  It is by Elizabeth David, the grande dame of British cookbook authors.

What there is to know about food preparation that she hasn’t written about, must not be worth knowing.  Each recipe is thoroughly researched and documented and delivered with current (at the time of publication) personal observations.  Mrs. David shares nine recipes for crumpets, those little griddle yeast breads, the oldest dating back to 1769, and her treatise on what a crumpet should and should not be.  She is quite firm and I get the feeling that she was quite a character.  My random recipe number this month brought me to the one called Crumpets 1973.  Thank God.

                                                  Random Recipes #28 - May

3 2/3 cups or 455g flour
1 packet dried yeast (3/4o oz or 21g) I used Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise.
2 cups or 470ml milk, diluted with 1/4 cup or 60ml water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons oil (I used canola.) plus extra for greasing the griddle and metal rings
For the second mixing: 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 cup or 120ml warm water

Mrs. David says to warm the flour in a crockery bowl in a warm oven so I popped mine in a glass bowl into the microwave.  I didn’t really expect anything that dry to get warm, but it did.  Since it’s hotter than the hinges of hell already here in Dubai, that step probably wasn’t necessary but I was curious to see if it would work.

Measure your milk, water, oil and sugar into a microwaveable vessel and then warm slowly to blood heat.  I took that to mean 98.6°F or 37°C.

Close enough.
Pour about 1/4 cup of 60ml of your warm milk mixture into a small bowl with the yeast and whisk gently.

Meanwhile, add the salt to your warmed flour and mix well.

Stir in the yeast and then add the warm milk mixture.  Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and elastic.  Here Mrs. David quotes from an earlier crumpet recipe and says to “attack it with ‘vivacious turbulence.’”  I suggest you do the same.

Look how foamy the yeast mixture got in just a couple of minutes! 

Cover the bowl and allow to rise for about an hour to an hour and a half at room temperature.

After an hour.
Beat it down with a wooden spoon.

Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and add it to the batter, again stirring vigorously.  Let this rest, or as Mrs. David says, let the batter recover, for another 30 minutes.

Here where it gets tricky.  Prepare your griddle and rings by brushing them liberally with oil.  According to the instructions, my rings were supposed to be about 4 inches or 10cm across.  Mine were considerably smaller.

Also, as I filled them the first time rather full, I realized that the characteristic holes in the crumpet couldn’t form because the batter was too deep.   Also, perhaps my batter was too thick.

Too full? Or too thick?  Either way, no holes! 
Mrs. David warned that this might happen and suggested adding some extra warm water to thin the batter just a little bit.  I added another 1/4 cup or 60ml of water and only filled the rings halfway on the second attempt.  I was delighted to start seeing holes forming as they cooked.

Yay!  Holes starting to emerge!  
So:  I suggest that you heat your griddle over a low to medium flame and then only fill the rings halfway with batter to start.  If the holes are still not forming, add some more warm water to the batter.

Cook the batter until the holes have formed and the top is looking mostly cooked.  Use an oven mitt to pick up the ring and run a knife around the crumpet to loosen it, if necessary, and remove the ring.  Flip the crumpet so the holey side can brown.

Remove from griddle and, if you’d like, keep the finished ones warm in the oven until they are all done and you are ready to eat.

Continue brushing the rings with grease and filling them and cooking the crumpets until all your batter is gone.  Or until you get sick and tired of turning out crumpets and decide to stack a couple of the first hole-less batch with cheese and saucisson and make your helper a birthday cake.   Decorate with piped cream cheese.  Sing the birthday song and blow the candle out for him.  After all he has no lips.

This recipe makes a bunch of crumpets, at least a couple or three dozen, especially with small rings.

Smear them with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey to fill the little holes.


More birthday boy photos: 


  1. Hinges of Hell?!?! Hahahaha!!! I laughed for a full 5 minutes over that one. You have such a well behaved doggie. Mine would never stand there and just stare at something!

  2. Awwww the dog! So cute! When my bestie did a semester abroad in Europe she fell in love with crumpets and I can certainly see why!

  3. So glad we met via the blogosphere, Stacy. Your posts are always enlightening and scrummy! Tokyo is my hometown but I'm an Anglophile so I delighted in reading about crumpet-making =) They are beautiful and getting pinned! Along with your cute doggie photos =)

  4. He's scared of the flame, Kelli! But he is usually well-behaved. Unless someone new comes into the house who needs welcoming, then he gets all jumpy. When I feed him, he has to sit, shake and give me a kiss so he's used to waiting for food.

  5. We love them, Kayle, but it's hard to find nice store-bought crumpets. When we are in the UK, I buy them and can eat them every morning! The little holes fill with melted butter - delicious!

  6. Delighted to have met you too, Kim! I have been an Anglophile since I started school on the British system when I was five. I grew up reading Enid Blyton and wanted to attend boarding school and go to the beach to play in rock pools for my holidays. Fortunately, I came to my senses about the school thing but I still love the beach. And I married a Brit. Best decision ever!

  7. Oh well done for trying crumpets. I gave them a go many years ago and don't remember them being very easy. Yours look really good. I love Random Recipes for getting me to cook things I otherwise wouldn't do. I've started using Eat Your Books too for the selection bit.

  8. EatYourBooks for the random part has been brilliant. Dom and his "chuck the books in a pile" obviously doesn't have the number of cookery books we do! (And I know I don't have near the amount some folk do.) I love that the challenge makes me use my books and try something I, otherwise, probably wouldn't!

  9. As a child, we used to play 'tea and crumpets' with English muffins. I never even dreamed of actually making crumpets until I saw this post. They look wonderful and what a beautiful doggy!

  10. Stacy, I always read your recipes (although I don't make them as often as I'd like) and bookmark them - this one I'm printing out and sending to my 80-year old aunt, who is an old-school Canadian and (like my mother) still grieves over the fact that Canada is no longer technically part of the UK. She makes some of the best tea and scones that can be found anywhere, and will undoubtedly love this recipe! I stopped by today for 2 reasons: 1) to read your post and 2) to find your bacon cup how-to so I can make them for Son#1, who is home from University and a sincere devotee of bacon. Last time I made them, I had a lot of trouble with the bacon sticking to the muffin tin (not very many came off intact, so I had to eat them...oh, well) but I'm hoping for better results this time. I just noticed in one of your comments below that you started school in the British system and realized that must be yet another reason I feel like I 'know' you! I started school in a British kindergarten (The Stephens School in Bangkok, now closed) and also grew up on Enid Blyton's books. Our neighbors - and my best friends in Taipei - were a British family, and their 3 children were my best friends. Rude awakening when I moved back to the US and discovered I was the only person who referred to an umbrella as a 'brolly.' ; )

  11. It could be, although we buy our bacon on the US military base so in theory it should just be normal stuff (MrL's company works with the Army so we get that as a huge bonus) - I actually debated about putting some cooking spray on the muffin tins this time as well, which seems so bizarre since bacon is so greasy. Either that or I cooked them too long! I'm up for the challenge, though - will let you know how it works!

  12. Commissary privileges! I have always been jealous of folks like you! I seem to recall you mentioning that now when you were in the throws of the Great Coffee Crisis of 2012. Go ahead and grease the pan! What can it hurt?

  13. what a beautiful random recipes entry, thanks so much!... I love crumpets and only made them once a couple of years ago but didn't have your fancy crumpet moulds, they're great!

    Love that the dog could join in to although i'm not sure Elizabeth David would have approved!

  14. I'm pretty sure she would not have, Dom. :) My "crumpet" rings are meant to be for fried eggs I think. Perfect for an English muffin egg sandwich. Which is why they are so small. Thanks for the bread challenge! I always enjoy participating.

  15. These look fantastic,. I've never made crumpets, but clearly, i need to!


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